Robin has welcomed the latest figures which show the Country and the County is building again with housing starts and completions at a seven year high. The figures come hot on the heals of the confirmation that all three South Worcestershire District Councils have approved the final South Worcestershire Development plan, setting out plans for homes and jobs for the future and, crucially, providing real protection for green belt and greenfield sites outside the plan.

The Conservatives want the next generation in Worcestershire to have the homes they need which is why we are going further than ever before, reforming the planning system, fast-tracking house building and investing in schemes like Help to Buy. The latest figures from the Department of Communities & Local Government show our plan is working, in 2015, in Worcester there were 390 starts and 290 completions of new homes in Worcester along and more than 2,000 starts and completions across the County as a whole. Building more houses means that people who work hard in Worcester to save and buy their own home, can achieve their dream. It is also good news for the building trade which supports many jobs and apprenticeships in the County.

We are determined to do even more to achieve our ambition of a million new homeowners by 2021. So we will continue to support small builders, build new affordable Starter Homes for young first-time buyers and build homes faster with planning permission in principle for brownfield sites. The completion of the SWDP will mean that local planners have more control and should help to ensure that green belt and valuable green field sites in the County have greater protection.

Robin said:

“With 90 per cent of people aspiring to own a home of their own we are helping to make this dream a reality by building the homes our country needs.”

“These figures show that the reforms to the planning system are working and builders are confident in investing and building homes. It’s welcome that the country is building again with housing starts nearly double the low point of 2009.”
“The adoption of the South Worcestershire Development plan should provide further certainty both for developers and for businesses investing in our area but it will also strengthen the hand of local planners in protecting green spaces and flood plain, which is equally important. I want to congratulate the council in Worcester for delivering record numbers of affordable homes whilst protecting green belt and flood plains.”

“After a slump in housebuilding under Labour that destroyed jobs and made housing less affordable it is good to see the building of new homes getting back on track. We are determined to go even further and have doubled the housing budget to over £2 billion a year so more people can have the security that comes with a home of their own.”

Notes to Editors

Headline national figures:

  • On 25 February 2016, the ONS published statistics for House building in England: October to December 2015. (DCLG, Housing building statistics, 25 February 2016, link)

Key statistics:

  • Number of starts up 23 per cent on same quarter a year earlier
  • Completions up 21 per cent over last year
  • More than 143,500 new build homes started – nearly double low point of 2009
  • Planning permissions up 12 per cent on same quarter last year

Other useful statistics:

  • We are delivering 400,000 new affordable home starts by 2020. Of these, 200,000 new Starter Homes will allow young first-time buyers to buy homes at a 20 per cent discount on the market value. A £2.3 billion fund will be made available to support the delivery of Starter Homes. (HM Treasury, Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, 25 November 2015, link, p.40).
  • Directly building more affordable homes. In a radical policy shift the Government will directly commission building of homes on public land, so that high-quality homes will be built quickly. A £1.2 billion starter home fund will also be made available to build at least 30,000 new starter homes on 500 new sites by 2020. (DCLG, 4 January 2016, link)
  • Accelerating housing supply. We are reforming the planning system and ensuring local authorities deliver on their Local Plans. Loans will be extended for small builders and £2.3 billion will be available to help to regenerate council estates. (HM Treasury, Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, 25 November 2015, link, p.41).
  • Enabling people to buy a home through Government backed schemes access an affordable mortgage and buy their own home. Since 2010, we have helped more than 270,000 households buy a home through Government schemes. We have provided more than 270,000 affordable homes to rent, which went beyond our target, nearly one third of which were in London. We are the first Government since the 1980s to finish a term of office with a higher stock of affordable homes than we started with. (Hansard, 15 December 2015, col.1481, link)

Labour’s failures:

  • Under Labour the number of first-time buyers more than halved. In 1997 there were 448,000 first-time buyers but by 2009 this had fallen to 199,000. (Council of Mortgage Lenders Press Release, 14 December 2011, link; CML, Recent Trend, July 2005, link)
  • Housebuilding under Labour fell to levels not seen since the 1920s. Between June 2008 and June 2009 only 75,000 new homes were started, the lowest level of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s. (DCLG, House Building: September Quarter 2013 England, 21 November 2013, link.)
  • Houses became more unaffordable under Labour. Between 1997 and 2010 the ratio to media incomes to median house prices rose from 3.54 to 7.01. By contrast in 2013 it was 6.72. At the same time house prices rose by 214 per cent between 1997 and 2007 before Labour’s Great Recession. (DCLG, Live tables on housing market and house prices – table 577, link; House Price Crash website, Nationwide average house prices, link).

Local Figures:

Local Authority Area Starts Completions
Bromsgrove 400 290
Malvern Hills 270 220
Redditch 230 190
Worcester 390 290
Wychavon 740 850
Wyre Forest 160 300
Worcestershire 2190 2140

To see Robin’s previous releases on housing in Worcester see: